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Prep basketball: Hustle beats length

Valencia clamps down on a pair of six-footers in High-Five Classic victory

Posted: November 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia guard Kalia Summerlin squares up for a shot against a Fairview defender on Wednesday at the High Five Classic tournament at Valencia High School.

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Going up against a much taller opponent, the solution for Valencia girls basketball was to do what it intends to do each and every game this season — hustle and rebound.

That worked like a charm on Wednesday night as the Vikings pulled away from Fairview High of Boulder, Colo 50-33 in pool play of the Valencia High Five Classic at Valencia High School.

“We’re a hustle team,” said Valencia sophomore Talia Roth. “We play hard. We just give it our all. We try to play every game like it’s our last.”

Roth caught fire from long range and scored a game-high 22 points on an 8-of-11 shooting night.

Her performance helped counter Fairview (0-1) and its lengthy lineup that included 6-foot-3 center Georgina Ryder and 6-foot-1 forward Kate Davenport.

The Vikings (2-0) stuck to their zone defense throughout the game, which limited most opportunities for the Knights to get the ball to the 6-footers inside.

Ryder was limited to six points and Davenport finished with three, as they were smothered in the middle all game long.

Valencia forwards Jennifer Anumba and Preea Johnson both picked up three fouls in the first half trying to defend the Knights, but a Valencia adjusted its defense at halftime to take the pressure off the two of them.

“We put more on the guards so the forwards wouldn’t foul,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike.

Valencia led wire-to-wire, though it had to overcome a seven-turnover first quarter.

The Vikings still led 11-7 after the opening frame and they were in front 23-14 at the half. From there, they extended their lead when Roth drained back-to-back 3-pointers and scored 10 of her points in the third quarter.

By the start of the fourth, the Vikings were up 37-23.

“They hit a few shots and defensively, we missed a few assignments,” said Fairview interim head coach Andre Goldberg. “But the girls played hard.”

Katie Kuosman led the Knights with 12 points, which all came off threes.

Valencia forced Fairview to take a lot of long-range shots, and it resulted in a poor 24.4 percent shooting clip.

Senior Kalia Summerlin was the Vikings’ second-leading scorer with seven points, but Roth did most of the heavy lifting in the scoring category.

“I was trying my best to focus and not worry about anyone else,” Roth said. “And just play my game.”

Valencia concludes pool play in the High Five Classic on Friday against Royal at 7 p.m. From there, it will play in championship bracket on Saturday.

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